Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard Statement at Modernizing the Federal Civilian Approach to Cybersecurity Hearing

2021-03-10 10:10

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on Modernizing the Federal Civilian Approach to Cybersecurity:

I welcome everyone to the first Department of Homeland Security subcommittee hearing of the 117th Congress, and particularly welcome our new members:  Ms. Underwood, Mr. Quigley, and Ms. Hinson. 

Welcome also to today’s witnesses: Acting Director Wales and Executive Assistant Director Goldstein of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

I’ll make my opening statement brief this morning to maximize time for questions.

Acting Director Wales, you’ve been asked to step into an interim role as CISA director and we appreciate your service in this capacity. We have spoken about some of the recent challenges you and CISA face, and I want to reaffirm my commitment to helping you address them.

The SolarWinds incident, a water treatment facility attack in Florida, and most recently, the compromise of Microsoft Exchange servers demonstrate that cybersecurity breaches are no longer isolated incidents. Networks are an emerging battlefield for both the public and private sectors.

In the case of the SolarWinds incident, it took far too long to become aware that a foreign adversary had infiltrated federal civilian agency networks and exfiltrated sensitive data. I am deeply concerned about how long it will take to learn the full extent of that compromise. And we are just beginning to learn about the impact of the Microsoft Exchange server intrusion.

It is also unnerving how easy it was for a hacker to manipulate the control systems of the Florida treatment plant – increasing the amount of lye to levels that could have led to tragedy if a watchful supervisor at the plant hadn’t noticed it in time.

It is clear that we need to be investing much more in preventing, mitigating, and responding to cyber intrusions and attacks. 

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan includes significant new funding to quickly improve the federal civilian cybersecurity posture, including $650 million for CISA.

I look forward to hearing more from you on that topic today and on CISA’s overall vision for modernizing our approach to cybersecurity.

117th Congress